Thom Tillis

Arrogance

News this week that Thom Tillis privately commissioned a makeover at the legislature seems to have come as a shocker to more than a few people. Not me. Because if you've had the pleasure of reading my commentary about his Magnificent Presence over the past year, you know such imperiousness is perfectly in character. It comes from being a certain kind of partner in one of the large consulting firms. The world itself revolves around them. They do what they want, even when it is ethically bankrupt.

Hanging that hat on the wrong peg

People in the business of candidates and elections often think that outcomes hinge on the few months in which a campaign unfolds. That leads to this kind of analysis by Thomas Mills, which makes sense as far as it goes. But in my view, it doesn't nearly go far enough. To argue that Kay Hagan should or shouldn't have distanced herself from Obama , or that she should have done this or that during her campaign, is to miss the larger question: What did Kay Hagan do during her nearly six years in office?

An open letter to Mr. Tillis

Dear Thom.

I was struck by the illusion of humility captured in one of your quotes this morning:

"I got elected by 49 percent of the voters, but I represent 100 percent of them, and I want to make sure that they know that their feedback and their priorities are important,"

To put a finer point on it, you were elected by 49% of the 44% who voted, so you are correct in interpreting your victory as slim and your mandate as fragile. Indeed, you captured the lowest level of support in the history of senate races. But let's set that aside for now. You won.

I also too note of your happy-talk about bipartisanship and outreach, though I couldn't help but observe the incongruity in your comments:

Tillis promised to reach out to the 51 percent of the electorate who picked Hagan and Haugh. He said he will come back to North Carolina from Washington every weekend. He aims to connect as he sought to over the past few years as House speaker, he said.

As you "sought to over the past few years as House speaker"? Seriously? If that is your standard for engagement, we are well and truly screwed. You may have "sought" to connect, but as our friend Yoda has said so well, "There is no try." You either did it or you didn't. And trust me on this, you didn't.

To Barack or not to Barack, that is the hindsight question

And the answer is not as obvious as many believe:

No doubt, Obama’s presence here would’ve energized some Hagan opponents, but it would also have propelled her constituents to the polls. As it was, lots of voters know a “dis” when they see one, and it was crystal clear that the president, after six years of being disrespected by Republicans, was now being disrespected by a Democratic incumbent who – despite owing her election to his coattails – was now treating him like a snaggle-toothed, bald-headed stepchild with tetter or ringworm.

Bolding mine. I know a lot of you are annoyed with Kay for her "not too far left, not too far right" declaration and apparent avoidance of the President, but rewriting history will not help us understand what happened Tuesday. Kay Hagan received 102,571 more votes than Obama did in 2008. That doesn't mean she was right to avoid the President in this election, but it does show she didn't "ride Obama's coattails" into office. Here's another take:

Changing the face of the Republican Party? How?

Can someone please explain how the first seven shown are changing the face of the Republican Party? Your comments are welcome below.

Desperate Tillis ramps up anti-Obama fear-mongering

Oh my God, what if things stay the same as they have been?

“Can you imagine if we don’t get a Senate majority what this president will do in the remaining two years of his term?,” Tillis told about 300 of his supporters Saturday evening in a high school cafeteria.

“He will pack the federal courts with the most liberal activist judges you’ve ever seen. He will sign an executive order granting amnesty, threatening the American workers and threatening our safety and security. He will fail to stand up to Iran, he will fail to stand up to ISIS. And our country will be less safe and secure than he found it. It already is ladies and gentlemen. That’s why I’m running for Senate.”

This is almost as stupid as some of the online ads I've seen from Neocon John Bolton: "Do you want to see a Democrat-controlled Senate?" No doubt there's a startling percentage of the electorate who have no idea the Dems have already controlled the Senate for several years, but the other 82% should see the logical misstep in this claim. First off, Republicans don't need a Senate majority to block the nominations of judges, they've already done that with gusto. And second, a President facing two hostile Houses of Congress is more likely to increase Executive Orders than if he's only facing one. And lastly, Tillis is on record (more than once) demonstrating he has absolutely no idea what he would do about ISIS, which translates to siding with McCain and other war-mongers by putting tens of thousands of boots back on the ground in Iraq. Something I believe most North Carolinians don't want.

Daily Dose: Haters gonna hate

I made the mistake this morning of reading comments on Tim Cook's coming out news in the New York Times. While there were plenty of positive comments, most seemed motivated by a combination of disdain, dismissal, or even hatred. It hurt my soul.

This is the thing that worries me most about North Carolina today: Thom Tillis' divide-and-conquer mindset has gone mainstream. From Amendment One to Medicaid to the gutting of environmental protections, Republican policy seems to start with ridiculing and then demonizing vast sectors of our population. If you are a young woman whose success in life hinges on being able to terminate a pregnancy, you are a murderer. If you are a gay man in a 30 year relationship and want to marry, you are a pervert. If you are a poor person working three jobs with no benefits and no hope, you are a taker. If you are a black man, you are a criminal.

There will always be extremes to contend with in each of these areas. Some people are perverts. Fraud does exist in our welfare system. Some black men are criminals. But most people are not perverts. Most poor people don't try to game the system. And most black men are not criminals. The extremes are, by definition, not the norm. They are a gross and destructive stereotype being perpetuated by conservative Republicans to further the economic agenda of concentrating wealth among the elite. The only other explanation I can think of is even more frightening: they are devoid of empathy and wallowing in hate.

Voting machine swiches Hagan vote to Tillis

And it's unknown how many other votes it may have changed:

The problem occurred at the Craft Recreation Center in Greensboro Wednesday morning. A voter intended to vote for Kay Hagan. But before he pressed the vote button, it switched to Thom Tillis. He tried again, and the same thing happened.

The voter then alerted poll workers. Guilford Elections Director Charles Collicutt says they re-calibrated the machine and now it is reporting as is should be. The error with the Craft Rec Center machine is the only one known to have the problem this cycle. He says there’s no way to know for sure how many times such an error has occurred.

There's one way they can check: Check all the votes for that particular machine, and if a voter chose mostly Democrats in other races but also voted for Thom Tillis, there's a good chance that Tillis vote was incorrect. Especially after what happened with the Pat McCrory fiasco, I doubt there's many crossover Dems voting for Thommy Boy.

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